What LinkedIn Tells Me About How You Should Prepare For Your Future

University career services operations and alumni associations have struggled for years to get good data on the employment experiences of their graduates. Mercifully, people voluntarily share on social media sites all sorts of things they neglect to tell their alma mater. So would it shock you to learn that one of our best sources of information on the employment histories of UCF College of Business graduates comes from LinkedIn? We have about 50,000 alums from the College of Business, 13,615 of them are on LinkedIn– that represents about 27% of the total.

These graduates tell us a number things: 70% of them live in Florida. Almost 60% of them are employed doing one of just six things: sales (15%), finance (12%), operations (9%), accounting (8%), entrepreneurship (7%), and marketing (6%). You might expect marketing people to be over-represented on LinkedIn– all that concern about developing your personal brand and stuff. But, if you add up those who work in sales, marketing or business development you get 25% of the total UCF COBA grads on LinkedIn. Almost sixty percent of our alums on LinkedIn graduated in the last ten years. This is a bit of an over-representation since only about 50% of our diplomas were issued in the last ten years. That said, it certainly appears that a lot of our young graduates start out in sales or another marketing function.

Given the vast majority of alums stay in Florida, it shouldn’t surprise us that the top employers of our grads are all in Central Florida: Lockheed Martin (150), UCF (140), Disney (106), Darden (58), Siemens (52). Only these five organizations have more than fifty of our alums on LinkedIn.

Most important is what our alums say they are skilled at–what presumably keeps them employed. Twelve percent report that they are skilled at Customer Service (1669), only slightly less–about 11.5% say they are skilled at Microsoft Excel (1570) and/or Office (1502). About nine percent say they are skilled at Marketing (1215), Financial Analysis (1178), Budgets (1170), Strategic Planning (1130), or Leadership (1126). Marketing Strategy (1065), PowerPoint (1041) and Sales Management (1004) round out the list with more than 1000. Again a very heavy dose of marketing skills with analytical and financial skills close behind.

If you do this same exercise for the University of Florida’s B-school you get a slightly different mix: a more geographically diverse alumni base has a higher concentration of people in finance with more analytic skills. USF looks more like us. The University of Michigan (my alma mater), looks sharply different because of the school’s location and probably the average age and geographic dispersion of its graduates.

The bottom line is this: if you plan to stay in Florida, especially Central Florida–you would be well served developing good sales, marketing and customer service skills. It is what we do here. Next comes finance and analytic skills (e.g. Excel). Having all four skills would greatly expand your opportunities to land a job locally. If your strengths or interest lie elsewhere, you need to be willing to look beyond what you can see out your window when searching for that first job.

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One thought on “What LinkedIn Tells Me About How You Should Prepare For Your Future

  1. Wow. Great article. I don’t have enough time in the day to play catch-up and read through all of your various posts or articles, but this post caused me to have a lot of realizations. In terms of obtaining a first job, locking in a career, and much more knowledge to pertains to my future. The article was very intriguing in regard to the thought process and theories, backed up with data that supports your claims.

    Thank you for providing a UCF student, such as myself, the understanding of LinkedIn’s impact in preparing for my personal job/career searching(networking)!

    -Todd

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